Personal Power and Project Management

Project ManagementI was on Patrick Richard’s blog and found this talk about body language and power by Dr. Amy Cuddy at the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference.  Personal power may be one of the top skills you have as a project manager. How many meetings do you sit in? How many interactions do you have with people on a daily basis? How important is it that people listen to you and respect you? I think being a leader on your assigned team and even organization is one of the best ways that you can fill your role as a project manager.

I am not of the opinion that personal power is bad — I do think that the misuse and abuse of personal power can be detrimental to you and your team. Everyone wants to follow a leader and on your project team, you should be seen as the leader of the group. Even when using a Scrum project management approach, as the ScrumMaster people should look to you as the authority even though your team may be self-governing and firing on all cylinders. That is why personal power is so important in project management.

I think one of the easiest ways to change people’s perception of you is through body language. Dr. Amy Cuddy gave an amazing presentation at the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference on this very subject. She is a social scientist and Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School and has spent her professional life researching power dynamics between people. She argues that body language shapes who we are and I agree with her. You don’t have to be a jerk and yell and scream for people to respect you — one simple strategy is to assume a more powerful posture. Want to improve your confidence levels? Assume one of the power stances for a short time before heading into your meeting Dr. Cuddy demonstrates in her presentation. This is the video of her presentation and it is definitely worth a watch. The video is just over 20 minutes, but it will be the best 20 minutes you spend on yourself this week.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment and let’s discuss her ideas.

Related Topics:
Cloud Enablement — How to Migrate to SaaS
SDLC — Software Development Lifecycle for Project Managers
Scrum and Timeboxing

About the Author

I am the author of this site, and what I say goes. I love talking about the benefits of formalized and professional project management and getting stuff done.